• renal function;
  • radical nephroureterectomy;
  • upper tract urothelial carcinoma;
  • chemotherapy

What's known on the subject? and What does the study add?

  • Radical nephroureterectomy (RNU), the standard of care treatment for high-risk urothelial carcinoma of the upper tract (UTUC), results in loss of a renal unit. Loss of renal function decreases eligibility for systemic chemotherapies and results in decreased overall survival in various malignancies.
  • The study shows that only a small proportion of patients had a preoperative renal function that would allow cisplatin-based chemotherapy. Moreover, eGFR significantly decreased after RNU, thereby lowering the rate of cisplatin eligibility to only 16 and 52% of patients based on the thresholds of 60 and 45 mL/min/1.73 m2, respectively. Taken together with the rest of the literature, the findings of the study support the use of cisplatin-based chemotherapy, when indicated, in the neoadjuvant rather than adjuvant setting.


  • To report (i) the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) changes in patients undergoing radical nephro-ureterectomy (RNU) for upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC); (ii) the rate of change in eGFR in patients eligible for cisplatin-based chemotherapy; and (iii) the association of preoperative, postoperative and rate of change of renal function variables with survival outcomes.

Patient and Methods

  • We performed a retrospective analysis of 666 patients treated with RNU for UTUC at seven international institutions from 1994 to 2007.
  • The eGFR was calculated at baseline and at 3–6 months (Modification of Diet in Renal Disease formula (MDRD) and Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration formula (CKD-EP) equations).


  • The median (interquartile range) eGFR decreased by 18.2 (8–12)% after RNU. A total of 37% of patients had a preoperative eGFR ≥ 60 mL/min/1.73 m2, which decreased to 16% after RNU (P < 0.001); 72% of patients had a preoperative eGFR ≥ 45 mL/min/1.73 m2, which decreased to 52% after RNU (P < 0.001). The distributions were similar when analyses were restricted to patients with locally advanced disease (pT3–pT4) and/or lymph node metastasis. Patients older than the median age of 70 years were more likely to have a decrease in eGFR after RNU (P < 0.001).
  • None of the renal function variables was associated with clinical outcomes such as disease recurrence, cancer-specific and overall mortality; however, when analyses were restricted to patients who had no adjuvant chemotherapy and did not experience disease recurrence (n = 431), a preoperative eGFR ≥ 60 mL/min/1.73 m2 (P = 0.03) and a postoperative eGFR ≥ 45 mL/min/1.73 m2 (P = 0.04) were associated with better overall survival in univariable analyses.


  • In patients who had UTUC, eGFR was low and furthermore, it significantly decreased after RNU.
  • Renal function did not affect cancer-specific outcomes after RNU.